It is not unusual to discover an intricate maze of mouse or rat tunnels in the foam insulation. Squirrels and even skunks and racoons are known to find a way into the hot tub cabinet.
Sometimes these critters shred the insulation off of the shell and pipes. They like to gnaw on pipes, hoses and electrical wires – sometimes just enough to weaken things so they will only break down when the tub is moved. It is not uncommon to find dead rats or mice tucked away inside the tunnels.
Several times over the years, as we were inspecting and/or repairing the underside of a tub, we’ve had rats jump out of the foam insulation and actaully land on us! It happened to one of our workers once, and he screamed like a little girl. When we laughed at him he insisted he wasn’t scared – “just startled”.
Many times people have become angry and defensive when we told them they had rats in their tubs and denied it adamantly, only to realize we were right when we removed a panel or showed the bottom.
-Ask the seller if they’ve ever had rat problems and check for old rat traps
-Check for telltale droppings & sniff for stench
-Remove the side panels and check under the tub if possible.
-look for fingernail-sized chips of foam around and under the hot tub and around the pumps & electronics.
-Check the horizontal pipes/hoses – if they are muddy/dirty on top but clean on the bottom it could be signs of rats running over and along them.